May 26, 2024
Okudzeto Ablakwa

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament for North Tongu in the Volta Region, emerged as a vocal critic of the ruling government and its appointees this year 2023.

Throughout the year, Ablakwa had been at the forefront of publishing detailed information on various alleged irregularities within the administration.

Ablakwa, in some cases, petitioned Parliament and other statutory bodies like CHRAJ to look into the issues while going to court to defend himself against legal suits that came up in some cases.

One of the legal battles involves Rev Kusi Boateng, a board of trustee member of the National Cathedral and the Founder of Power Chapel Worldwide, dragging Ablakwa to court, in which Ablakwa prevailed.

1. National Cathedral brouhaha

One key area of Ablakwa’s revelations was with the National Cathedral of Ghana project. He accused the project secretariat of criminal undertakings involving identity theft and financial mismanagement.

In a detailed exposé on May 4, 2023, he presented evidence suggesting that its activities outside the country, relative to the incorporation of the National Cathedral of Ghana’s fundraising wing in Washington, D.C. was executed through identity theft.

Ablakwa’s investigations extended to the allocation of contracts and funds, revealing that millions of taxpayer funds were diverted to companies without construction records.

In one of the most long-drawn of his exposés, Ablakwa claimed and defended himself in court that Rev Kusi Boateng, secretary of the project, had a double identity, and holds multiple passports with different dates of birth.

2. Bank of Ghana (BoG) Head Office ‘mystery’

Ablakwa also published documents suggesting that the original value of the Bank of Ghana’s new offices was a little over US$81m but was likely to exceed the US$250m tag given by the Minority in Parliament.

The MP, in a publication dated August 17, 2023, revealed among others that the initial procurement processes for the office started in 2020 contrary to the view that it started under the erstwhile government.

Ablakwa listed 26 points in his post addressing the corporate governance issues from the outset, the issue of tendering and procurement, the companies contracted on the project, and other issues of public concern.

The facility, which currently costs US$250 million according to the Minority in Parliament, has attracted a lot of reactions since the apex bank confirmed that it was indeed building a new head office.

The BoG in response to a press statement by the minority stated last week that the new office complex was necessary principally for security and other reasons, stressing that the current location was not safe in the case of an earthquake.

3. US$48m contract awarded by Ursula without PPA approval

The North Tongu lawmaker also alleged that communications minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful awarded a multi-million dollar contract without the necessary procurement approval.

In a July 6, 2023 post on his social media handles, the MP provided correspondence between himself and the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to back his claims.

The minister and ministry denied any wrongdoing.

4. The GH¢187 million ‘Kitchen Scandal’

Ablakwa also claimed to have saved Ghana the payment of GH¢187 million in judgment debts through his publication on a transaction between the government and a private company, Blue Skye, which he codenamed as the ‘Kitchen Scandal’.

In a social media publication, Ablakwa alleged that Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, cousin of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was seeking to enforce payment of GH¢187.3 million judgment debt to his client, West Blue, even though the current government has varied the contract.

He said that the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government did a value-for-money audit on the contract in question and conclude that West Blue rather owes the government of Ghana and not the other way round.

Ablakwa also alleged that the Attorney General, Godfred Dame, has, so far, issued three legal opinions in favour of Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko.

He accused Dame of issuing these opinions irregularly stating that the December 16, 2022, advice, in particular, was without recourse to “inputs from the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Revenue Authority as both institutions had not submitted their written arguments.”

The MP in an interview on GHOne TV on Monday, August 5, 2023, disclosed that the process to pay the over GH¢187 million judgment death has halted due to his publication.

5. Heaven scandal

Then there was the scandal codenamed “Heaven Scadal” in which he raised alarm over the sale of prime lands around the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to a private company under some shady circumstances.

In his exposé named the Heaven Scandal and published via his social media handles on Monday, October 2, 2023, the opposition MP accused the President and the Minister for Finance of granting approval for the transaction led by the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) in deal on the blindside of parliament.

“On the blind side of Parliament and the Ghanaian people, President Akufo-Addo and Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta have granted approval for our prime airport lands to be handed over under the most shady of circumstances to a company known as Heaven Builders Limited,” he alleged.

He noted that the Managing Director of GACL, Mrs Pamela Djamson-Tettey in 2022 through a correspondence with the Managing Director of Heaven Builders offered some 38.14 acres of the said land at a total cost of US$85,021,340.00.

The MP noted that the deal strangely failed to disclose how the supposed infrastructure cost was arrived at and that it is more shocking that the GACL would not be allowed to raise its own funding for the supposed development.

While pegging the current commercial value of a land around the Airport enclave at an average of $4 million per acre, Mr Ablakwa noted that the offer given to Heaven Builders gives the company the chance of making in excess of US$152million profit at the expense of the state.

He further revealed that the situation around the deal has led to a sharp division within the management of GACL with some managers opposing the deal while others are vehemently pushing the deal through.

According to the MP, the managing director of GACL at one point was threatened with dismissal over accusations of attempting to slow down the deal.

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